Columbian claims key match vs Bellevue

SBC Lake Tennis

PHOTO BY ZACH BAKER Columbian doubles player Jacob Beamer returns a serve before a match against Bellevue.

Columbian coach Chip Weingart said he knew how important Thursday’s home match with Bellevue was.

The Tornadoes came into the Sandusky Bay Conference Lake Division tilt at 2-1 in league matches.

The Redmen came in 3-0. The top team in the conference, Norwalk, entered the day with a 3-0 mark.

Simply put, if Columbian had designs on being in the league title mix, it couldn’t afford to lose to the Redmen.

“This is a match we had to win today,” Weingart said.

PHOTO BY ZACH BAKER Bellevue’s Zach Fischer competes Thursday in Tiffin.

His players came through, winning every match but one in a 4-1 victory.

Columbian’s lone loss came at first singles, where the Redmen’s Zach Fischer upended Collin Burkett 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5), 10-7. But Columbian had already clinched things before that match was over.

“A lot of really closely contested matches, and it was good to see our guys finish,” Weingart said.

Columbian’s first win came at second singles, where Jason Weng defeated Bellevue’s Hunter Musselman 6-1, 6-1.

It was a cool, breezy day at the courts near Frost-Kalnow Stadium. Maybe it wasn’t great for spectators, but Weingart said it was perfect for Weng.

“Jason really enjoys hitting a lot of drop shots and slices,” Weingart said, “and with the weather today, it really played up to his strength.”

At third singles, Weingart’s son, Jacob, got through a tough match, topping Bellevue’s Andrew Dye 6-1, 7-6 (7-1).

“At third singles, we got a little wild in the second set, started to hit a lot of balls out, but then Jacob settled back down and was able to move the ball around enough to win the match,” the coach said. “Didn’t play his best, but he finished.”

Coach Weingart said he was very pleased with his doubles teams.

The duo of Zach Krintzline and Jacob Beamer upended the Redmen’s Gunner Lilly and Richard Stombaugh 6-2, 6-3 at first doubles. Columbian’s second doubles team of Ryan Crocker and Austin Hill got past Aaron Baker and Zach Eskins 7-6 (7-3), 6-2.

“First doubles played well today,” Weingart said. “They got to the net, they finished well at the net. And, once my second doubles team kept their guys off the net, they had success.”

Bellevue’s highlight came from Fischer, who outlasted Burkett to notch a victory.

“It was a good match there. Had him grind the whole time, had him playing,” Bellevue coach Blaine MacFarland said. “Their first singles player is a very good player.”

Weingart called first singles “an interesting match.”

“Guys kept the ball in play a lot, but they didn’t end a lot of points quickly, so it really became a battle with the wind, a lot of spin,” he said. “Their kid finished that tiebreaker a little bit stronger than mine did.”

Bellevue slipped to 4-4, 3-1 in the SBC Lake.

“I took a lot from it,” MacFarland said of Thursday’s match. “It was nice to see some of our players actually come out … they got down early and came back and kept grinding, kept playing with them. Kept trying, kept pushing them. Had a couple close matches that didn’t come out.”

Bellevue’s next conference match is Monday, when it hosts another rival in Clyde. The Fliers are coached by Jeff MacFarland, Blaine’s father.

The Bellevue coach said there are a number of teams in contention for the league crown.

“There’s a lot going on right now, it should be a close rest of the way here, especially with Tiffin Columbian here, us, Clyde, and then Norwalk up at the top right now,” MacFarland said, “but hopefully we can bounce back here.”

Meanwhile, Columbian will be in action Saturday at the Willard Invitational. The Tornadoes get back to league play at Clyde Tuesday.

Weingart asked what he’ll be looking for in the upcoming days.

“Consistency. Tennis is all about consistency, and you’ve got to find a pace you can hit at comfortably to keep the ball in play,” he said. “That’s why this invite is so big for us. Everybody’s gonna play at least two matches on Saturday.”